Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Next week I will participate at this event in Boston. I really look forward to this and it feels like a very good follow-up from B4E last week. Demonstrating low carbon innovation and climate positive in reality.

Ericsson - taking you forward
Ericsson Pavilion
Fan Pier Race Village
28 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

Public Policy Roundtable: Exploring the role of technology in meeting the climate challenge

You are invited to a roundtable discussion, “Exploring the role of technology in meeting the climate challenge”, on Friday, May 8, 3:00pm-4:30pm, at the Ericsson Pavilion, Boston Harbor, hosted by Ericsson, the world’s leading provider of telecommunications technology and services, in collaboration with the newly inaugurated Columbia Climate Center of the Earth Institute.

Participants include leaders from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) private sector, public policy makers, academia, NGOs, media and other key stakeholders.

The telecommunications industry is creating and linking opportunities across sectors such as transport, energy, and health for socio-economic development, job creation and low carbon solutions. Industry and academic estimates show that smart use of ICT can offset global CO2 emissions by at least 15% by 2020. Ericsson believes that an innovation-driven climate agenda would deliver significantly higher reductions than 15% and are now exploring ways for innovative telecommunication solutions to help support low carbon development.

We are bringing together thought leaders to discuss the role of the ICT sector in addressing climate challenges and the role technology can play in finding tangible solutions. This dialogue is critical to bringing public and private partners together to tackle these critical issues and highlight a new way of thinking about carbon emissions – that is being “carbon positive”. It is also a step to putting the ICT sector on the agenda for policy makers and governments when it comes to reaching their carbon emission targets – focusing on the industries such as ICT that can make transformative change.

The prestigious panel of speakers include:
Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute and Special Advisor to UN Secretary General
Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO, Ericsson
Dennis Pamlin, Global Policy Advisor, WWF
Dan Schrag, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Director, Harvard University Center for the Environment
Gavin Schmidt, Author of “Climate Change: Picturing the Science”
Cynthia Rosenzwieg, Leads cllimate impacts research at NASA's Goddard Institute

Space is limited so please respond by May 4, to Elaine Weidman, VP Sustainability, Ericsson corporate.responsibility@ericsson.com

Detailed logistics will be sent upon your confirmation of participation.

With best regards,
Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson and
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Green Imperative: B4E asks for sustainable infrastructure systems and transformative improvements

I was happy to see that Georg Kell, executive director, Global Compact, and the rest of the B4E team agreed to include my suggestions for new language that ensured focus on “sustainable infrastructure”, the need to avoid “high carbon lock-in”, “transformative improvements” and a “shift from product to service perspective”. The suggestions were captured in the following two points:

> Capturing the global crisis requires recovery plans that provide for drastically expanded investment in clean technologies and sustainable infrastructure systems, building the Green Economy with transformative improvements that avoid lock-in in high carbon and resource inefficient systems.

> We need to shift from a product to a services perspective, applying life cycle approaches that support cradle-to-cradle strategies in business along all value chains and using ecosystem services sustainably.

There was quite a few other changes that I think could have been made to further strengthen the “manifesto”, but the two above where the most important. I would also liked to have seen a bullet about the need for a special focus on solutions industries like IT and biotech (based on biomimicry), but if we take the two point above serious it is covered.

The fact that IT was represented as one if the key sectors at the conference was good and together with participation from China and India as well as leading thinkers like Janine Benyus it was a constructive conference that moved the agenda forward.

It will now be interesting how the Copenhagen Climate Council and the World Business Summit on Climate Change can build on the Manifesto from B4E. So far the headings for the summit looks good, but hardly any representatives from new innovative companies are present (their manifesto also feels like 1999 rather then 2009). Hopefully both the mix of companies and message will change to a more innovative and solution orientated when the conference opens in four weeks. If not we will have a situation where the Copenhagen Climate Council, instead of moving the agenda forward and build on B4E, will move the agenda backwards. Let’s hope that they can improve, as the world doesn’t need more of a traditional approach where the stage is reserved for the big polluters and their talk about incremental improvements.


The whole “Manifesto” from B4E can be read below or here.

The Green Imperative
from the B4E Summit, Paris, 22-23 April 2009

The global economic downturn has exposed the extent to which markets and societies are increasingly interconnected and interdependent. We, the participants of the B4E Summit 2009, recognize that the economic, environmental and social challenges and risks we face demand a new level of leadership and cooperation. We are confident that by exercising such leadership, restoring trust and by working together we have the opportunity to put our global economy, our markets and lifestyles, our livelihoods and security, and, ultimately, our planet on a sustainable path. We emphasize the following:

• Agreement on a new global climate regime is urgent, offering all countries the opportunity to unlock the potential for sustainable, green innovation and job creation that exist as we head towards the low-carbon society. We call on Governments to complete a comprehensive and successful COP-15.
• We call on Governments to promote global integration, based on fundamental principles of non- discrimination in trade and investment, so that we can more efficiently disseminate clean
technologies globally.
• We call on Governments to provide appropriate regulatory and incentive structures to encourage more sustainable consumption and production, and send the right market signals for business to act.
• Now is the time to remove uncertainties, enable green investments to flow, and build scalable public- private partnerships that can leapfrog in terms of technological innovation.
• Capturing the global crisis requires recovery plans that provide for drastically expanded investment in clean technologies and sustainable infrastructure systems, building the Green Economy with transformative improvements that avoid lock-in in high carbon and resource inefficient systems.

• For business, we need increased transparency, a stronger ethical orientation and an expanded risk paradigm that includes not only traditional business and financial factors, but also relevant extra-financial issues in the environmental, social and governance realms.
• We need new due diligence requirements that strike a fair balance between the needs of shareholders and other stakeholders, including future generations.
• We need to shift from a product to a services perspective, applying life cycle approaches that support cradle-to-cradle strategies in business along all value chains and using ecosystem services sustainably.
• We need to shift from the tyranny of “short-termism” to a longer-term orientation of value creation, as embodied in the UN Global Compact.
• We need broad-based use of sustainable procurement and criteria that are both green and decent in the management of our supply chains.
• We need reporting and accountability systems which combine internationally recognized financial and sustainability standards to mainstream forward-looking approaches.
• We recognize the importance of promoting small business development and social entrepreneurship in the making of truly sustainable enterprises.
• We underscore the importance of revamping business education and training in order to properly nurture and develop the leaders and managers of tomorrow.

We offer our energy and commitment to work with Government and society, to jointly take leadership, ownership and accountability for our contribution as responsible citizens, consumers and leaders. This implies our engagement from local to global level, including cooperation with UNEP and others in the UN facilitated process on sustainable consumption and production leading to a 2012 World Summit.

We, the participants of the B4E Summit 2009, underline the need for business to take its part - along with Government, the research community and other societal partners - in creating a more sustainable world and drive the way towards the sustainable, green and responsible enterprise. We call on all stakeholders to work together in order to achieve these aims.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A new G2 in Asia: From op-ed to reality with leading CEOs showing the way

I want to thank everyone for the feedback on the article in China Daily about the new G2 (I will try to reply to you, but please resend if I don’t). One reason for being slow in responding is that Asian companies like Suntech and Suzlan are moving to the centre of the discussion.
I think yesterday was the first time that Shi Zhengrong and Tulsi Tanti were on the stage together and it felt like an historic moment. When these two low carbon heroes to put their heads together there is hope for the future (I could not resist a photo of these two brilliant minds together).

After short discussions with both Shi Zhengrong and Tulsi Tanti I hope to be able to support new innovative projects with both and hope to report back soon as we move from idea to implementation…

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

China Daily: A new G2 in Asia to help steer the way

This is an article from today's China Daily (and that was also picked up by Xinhua). I really like the illustration.

A new G2 in Asia to help steer the way
By Dennis Pamlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-04-21 07:45

We have a financial crisis that has forced any traditional superpower to understand that the emerging economies must be given a more important role when global economic policy is being developed. So far this has resulted in G8+5, a bigger role for G20 and a number of crisis meetings.

But the financial crisis is nothing more than the tip of an iceberg and much more is needed. Below the surface we have a number of trends that require a dramatic change in how the current global governing system works, including the Bretton Woods institutions that were created after World War II.

The firm action that the current financial crisis requires is a perfect opportunity to begin looking toward a new global architecture. At the very center of this architecture are two different G2's that will play a very important role.

The first G2 is the one that has been discussed in media since the beginning of the financial crisis, that of China and the United States. This is the G2 that follows the logic of the current system. Few would disagree that the G8 that exists today is increasingly outdated and that something new is needed. The G8 was a response to the oil crisis in 1973 and when it was formed in France in 1975 it was the major Western countries that came together. That time is gone and we have a different situation today.

The two major economies on the planet should have a special relationship and the "strategic and economic dialogue" mechanism that was launched during the G20 meeting in London provides a great opportunity.

It is important that China is clear and does not allow the old, polarized agenda to dominate, so that G2 becomes a smaller, more effective version of G8. China's global role so far has been a breath of fresh air as it does not seek global leadership, but instead wants to work in collaboration with all countries and on all levels.

With the US as a major consumer and China as a major producer, we can hope for a "global collaboration" initiative. This could focus on the major challenges we face and how China and the US could together, with other countries, to find solutions for them.

These solutions could range from major initiatives with incentives that support sustainable innovation and standards that ensure future buildings are net producers of energy. Instead of being the largest problem for climate change and resource use, the buildings of the world could become the epicenter for climate-smart and resource-efficient solutions. For this to happen, China and the US must cooperate.

This G2 could also encourage micro collaborations. I myself carry around a bag with solar panels that can charge my laptop; it is made in the US and costs a lot. I would like to see these kinds of solutions being made in places like Baoding, the city south of Beijing that wants to be a center for renewable energy production that Silicon Valley is to the computer industry. At the same time, companies in China could be invited to the US to explore how joint construction projects for solar buildings can be launched.

This kind of practical collaboration could be linked to more strategic collaboration in trade, investments and finance, as well as in security policy and other important areas.
In order to identify the second G2, we must take a step back to the macro level. It is easy to see that the center of the global economy is moving east. The need to find long-term solutions for a financial system where the money can move at the speed of light will require new regulations and new institutions.

But there are other issues that are harder to see, issues that will not hit the headlines before it is too late, as they happen slower. These include issues such as the demographic crunch with an aging global population, the increased population pressure as the world moves toward 10 billion people, growing inequalities within and between countries, and finally an accelerated development of new technologies.

All these can bring humanity fantastic gifts if they are met with the right framework, but they could also drive the world into conflict and problems beyond imagination. Especially since natural resources on the planet are not enough to provide everyone with a "G8 lifestyle".
This brings us to what I think is the more interesting, and less discussed, G2 - China and India. I was fortunate to be in Delhi during President Hu Jintao's visit in 2006. During this trip, a number of initiatives were started and it is clear that the 2 billion-plus population countries share many challenges and opportunities.

Cynical observers have focused on the differences between the countries and many Western observers seem to view China and India as pawns in the power play between the G8 countries. But anyone that can do the math and look at the history of these two countries will realize that there will be a very interesting G2, whether we like to call it that or not.

By ensuring closer and more strategic ties between China and India, the world will get two countries with long, proud histories that are a welcome balance to the dominating Western narrative in most of today's global institutions. The world would also get two countries that are reflections of how the world as a whole looks like, with a mix of rich and poor people and different development paths.

The most interesting aspect of the "Chindia G2" would probably be the end of the idea of Western countries as the goal of "development". We could also get a discussion about where the world can and should go next. We need a global circular economy for that and the two countries that probably have the best opportunity to provide guidance on how this can be done in a practical way are China and India.

Every time I visit China and India, I see more and more similarities when it comes to the big challenges. With their roles as global economic engines, it becomes very important what direction those engines will move and what fuel they will use. If China and India start collaborating in a way that shows the world the two countries - which together contain about 40 percent of the world's population - can develop joint innovative strategies for global sustainability, it will be a very good step forward for this current crisis.

This G2 understands the need for innovative solutions that deliver more than incremental improvements, as this is necessary to lift people out of poverty and deliver solutions that do not result in conflict over natural resources a few years from now.
So while most people are looking for a US-China G2 along the lines of the old school, the most important G2 will probably be that of China and India. We should see these two in a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

With a global agenda that delivers global benefits, China would start building a global governance culture beyond narrow self-interest that also includes scientific consideration for the planet in a way that the current economic system has failed to do. This would be a very good start for the 21st century and a way to turn the current economic crisis into something that will benefit both the people and the planet in a way that we never done before, but that we urgently need.

Deng Xiaoping once said that a real Asian century will arrive only when China and India are developed - this time is now emerging and for it to deliver a positive outcome, the two G2s could play a crucial role.

The author is a global environment policy advisor specializing in China and India.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The low carbon innovation tour: soon ending

On my way to Istanbul and after a really inspiering time in Cairo (I hope we will see some really interesting submissions from AUC) I realise that the low carbon innovation tour to support the low carbon innovation award soon is over. It has been a fantastic experience to meet so many passionate students (and teachers) and to develop the first short movie (that I know of) that focus on innovation and the need to shift from a product focus to a service focus. If only a few of the ideas from the students can go from ideas to action the world will be a much better place…

Here is an overview of past and upcoming events:

12 January 2009: University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom
5 February 2009: Universit├Ąt St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland
5 March 2009: Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
5 March 2009: Ashridge Business School, Berkhamsted, United Kingdom
17 March 2009: INSEAD, Paris, France
24 March 2009: Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary
25 March 2009: Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland
26 March 2009: Technical University of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
6 & 7 April 2009: American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
11 April 2009: Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey
24 April 2009: Universit├Ąt Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany

Friday, 3 April 2009

G20: 0 - Norway: 1

Not the best time for the planet. Being in London now is not very fun as G20 is not getting its act together. I think George Monbiot's is correct (not always the case) when assessing the G20 in the Guardian. Still there is hope as some governments, in this case Norway, are starting to look how they can use money to accelerate the necessary changes. A guideline for how Norway can move even further can be found in the report WWF and Innovest released last year. Maybe it inspired these first steps?